"Twilight" zone: There is apparently some new movie about vampires called "Dawn" or "Twilight" or something like that. If you want to know more you can read this Los Angeles Times review by critic Kenny Turan, who says the movie actually makes him wish he could be a 13-year-old girl. Or you can check out Nikki Finke’s Deadline Hollywood blog for an appraisal of the early box-office totals. Or investigate this CNN report about how some of the rabid fans are giving star Kristen Stewart the creeps because they are so jealous of her on-screen smooches with the hunky vampire guy. Or you can peruse this TV Guide story about said bloodsucker, Robert Pattinson, who is getting a bit creeped out himself ("You get little girls like, ‘I want to have your babies!’ It’s like, seriously. I don’t even want to have my babies."). Or you can explore this Fangoria story on director Catherine Hardwicke and the curious importance of blow dryers during the making of a film that appears to be poised for truly staggering success. Or, finally, you can read this you-are-there piece by Yvonne Villarreal of the Los Angeles Times, who braved a midnight showing of "Twilight" to mind-meld with the fans. Or you could just shrug and wait for the DVD so you don’t have to put up with the squealing fans at the theaters.
"Hex," jinxed?: The "Jonah Hex" film is looking like it’s all hat and no cattle. Variety reported the other day that "Crank" co-directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor had left the project and that the producers were in a scramble for a new director to keep Josh Brolin ("W," "No Country for Old Men") in the saddle for the adaptation of the story of the grim, disfigured bounty hunter from DC Comics. Brolin talked recently to MTV about the project and he sounded a bit, uh, conflicted about the role. Excerpts: "When I first read it, I thought, ‘Oh my God, it’s awful!’ And then I had a moment a week later, and I thought, ‘Why is it awful?’ Maybe the thing to do is to do the most awful movie I can find…. In the last couple months, I’ve been going back and forth about it. I went back to my gut: ‘Is it a sellout? What is it I like about this movie?’ … It’s so tongue-in-cheek. It’s so ridiculous. But once I started putting people in my mind and saying, ‘What if I put [John] Malkovich in this role. Then what does this movie become? Now let’s put this producer and director on it and think about how it plays out.’ Then it becomes fun. Now I love that movie. If you have a great filmmaker come in, then suddenly, these gags and characters become interesting." Yeah, Josh, or maybe not. [MTV Movie News]
O Captain! My Captain: There are few things we fanboys love more than imaginary casting contests. Matt Brady knows that full well, so he had some fun surveying his readers about who should be carrying the red-white-and-blue shield in the Marvel Studios "First Avenger: Captain America." Votes came in for Brad Pitt, Matthew McConaughey, Jamie Bamber (Apollo on "Battlestar Galactica") and Howie Long, the Hall of Fame defensive lineman who mauled quarterbacks for the Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders. The winner? That would be Mark Valley, shown in the photo next to the star-spangled avenger. "Among readers who voted for Valley, many cited the actor’s physical similarity to Steve Rogers as well as the fact that he is a veteran, having served in Operation Desert Storm. Valley currently appears as Agent John Scott in Fox’s Fringe, but if Newsarama readers are any indication, his acting in Keen Eddie and Boston Legal put him on the radar of many fans as a possible Captain America." [Newsarama]
Calling Dick Tracy; come in, Tracy: Warren Beatty’s "Dick Tracy" from 1990 yielded seven Oscar nominations (including a best supporting actor nomination for Al Pacino — which makes you wonder why everyone seems to think a nomination for Heath Ledger in the same category is such a bold, new concept) and won in the makeup, set and original song categories. Beatty told me once that, in the years after the film, he came to view the movie as an articulation of his inner desire for family. It’s hard to let go of family, of course, so maybe that’s why Beatty has filed a federal lawsuit to keep control of the character as a Hollywood property. Harriet Ryan has the story: "The film idol bought rights to the character two decades ago from the Tribune Company in order to make his 1990 hit movie version of the square-jawed, tough-talking gumshoe. The sale allowed Tribune, the original publishers of the classic strip, to take back the rights if Beatty didn’t film another project. Tribune, which owns the Los Angeles Times, recently sent Beatty a letter saying time is up and it is reasserting control of the character. But the actor claims he should retain the rights because he started filming a Dick Tracy TV special earlier this month. His attorney declined to say where or when the program will air, but insists the 71-year-old is far from done with the detective. ‘Warren has always viewed Dick Tracy as a very valuable, interesting iconic character,’ said attorney Charles Shephard. ‘He has all sorts of creative thoughts about what he might do with this character.’ " [Los Angeles Times]
– Geoff Boucher